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Overview of General Campaign Finance Information

for City-Wide Offices, Alderpersons and School Board 

Please be sure to carefully read and review the Wisconsin Ethics Commission's Campaign Finance Overview for Local Candidate Committees.


  1. All disbursements must be made for political purposes and by check.
  2. Corporate contributions are prohibited.
  3. A maximum of $100.00 may be accepted in cash.
  4. A maximum of $10.00 may be accepted anonymously.
  5. Anonymous contributions of less than $10.00 shall be listed separately. Any aggregate contributions of more than $10 and up to $200 must be listed with name and address of contributor.  Any aggregate contribution of more than $200 must be listed with name, address and occupation of contributor.
  6. Records must be maintained in an organized and legible manner, and any campaign finance reports that are emailed must be either in .pdf or Excel format (pictures of documents are not acceptable).
  7. For purposes of calculating contributions limits, a new candidate's campaign begins on the date a new candidate is required to file a registration statement. The campaign period includes both the primary and general election and ends the day before the winning candidate begins their term of office. For an incumbent candidate, the new campaign period begins on the day the candidate assumes office, runs through the primary and general election for that office and ends the day before the winning candidate begins their term of office.
  8. Any changes to campaign data (including contact information) must be made by filing an amended Campaign Registration Statement (CF-1) within ten (10) days of the change (e.g., change in address, treasurer, etc.).

NOTE: Committees may be eligible for an exemption from filing campaign finance reports if campaign finance activity is low enough to meet the following criteria:
  • The committee anticipates that it will not accept or make contributions, make disbursements, or incur loans and other obligations in an aggregrate amount of more than $2,500 in a calendar year.
    • This includes the candidate's personal funds contributed and spent on campaign expenses.
  • The candidate or treasurer must sign and date the request for exemption on their Campaign Registration Statement (CF-1) or on a Statement of No Activity (CF-2NA). An indication of limited activity (exemption) under this section is effective only for the calendar year in which it is granted. A committee that is eligible for an exemption may file at any time.
  • If a committee exceeds $2,500 in contributions or expenditures in that calendar year, an amended registration should be filed within 10 days indicating that the committee is no longer eligible to claim exemption.
  • If a candidate committee wishes to renew its exempt status, it should file an amended CF-1.
  • Candidates on the ballot may claim an exemption when they first register, or renew their exemption from the previous calendar year. HOWEVER, a candidate on the ballot in that calendar year, who did not previously claim the exemption, may not amend the registration to claim the exemption before the date of their election.
  • A committee must continue to maintain records of all contributions and expenditures during exemption.

How to Run for Public Office in the City of Milwaukee

This website was created to assist citizens who are considering a bid for elected office. This cursory review does not replace the candidate's responsibility to review Chapters 5-12 of the State Statutes governing the election process.


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